Currently, the museum is preparing to celebrate “The Art of the Cords.”
The Jail Museum is looking into the tradition behind seniors painting corduroy pants and skirts. It is rumored to have started in the early 1900s at Purdue University, and many believe the tradition is unique to Indiana. The fashion started in university, but trickled down to high school seniors.
“Senior cords,” as they were dubbed, were to be decorated with paint and marked with the student’s major and graduation date, as well as any student organization the student was involved in — a style deemed “personalized graffiti.”
Cords were a heavily guarded tradition of the senior classes, and freshman would often try to interfere with little success.
The tradition died out many years ago. Sometimes the decorations would turn racy and lewd, and principals were rumored to have banned the graffiti.
Some student organizations at Purdue have attempted to bring back the tradition with varying success.
Regardless, Kosciusko County Historical Society Director Sally Hogan expects the display will have great appeal. “People who lived when this was popular will be very nostalgic,” she said.
The exhibit is expected to go on display in September, but the museum is looking for additional cords to display before then. They would like cords from all county schools and from all years. The items may either be loaned or donated by bringing them to the museum at 121 N. Indiana St., Warsaw.
For more information or to visit the museum, call (574) 269-1078. Regular visiting hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.